Building ban in fire areas would displace a million, says John Brumby

Building ban in fire areas would displace a million, says John Brumby

16 February 2010

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Australia — VICTORIAN Premier John Brumby has dismissed calls to ban rebuilding in high fire danger areas like Marysville, saying to do so would displace one million people.

A panel of planning experts has criticised the government’s haste to rebuild in the aftermath of Black Saturday, with one expressing alarm that communities are allowed to resettle in dangerous bushland settings.

But Mr Brumby said the government’s policy was right and steps had been taken to improve safety in high risk bushfire areas.

“I think the government’s decision was right, people want to rebuild and these communities historically have been safe communities,” he told reporters today.

“If you say in Victoria that you can’t build in any area that’s heavily forested you’d be removing close to a million Victorians from their homes – that’s the reality.”

Mr Brumby said banning Victorians from living in forested areas would mean abandoning communities in Bendigo, Ballarat, the Otways, the Macedon Ranges and Daylesford.

“This is all about, I think, living with the risk of fire and we are a dry continent, we’re also a very beautiful continent, our eucalypt forests are stunning places and they’re beautiful places to live.

“So this is about making places as safe as possible while recognising the beautiful amenity that we’ve got in so many treed areas across the state.”

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